Khalid “Banjara” Chaudhry died in Karachi two days ago. Inna lillahi WA Inna Ilaihi Rajioon. It is said that the cause of his death was a heart attack. The news was sudden and unexpected and it has deeply saddened us all.
About a year ago, Khalid started to contribute regularly to Soach and his SoachCasts rapidly became a very popular and anticipated feature at the website. Since I had known him, he had been an ardent poetry fan. He knew classical and contemporary, minor and major and local and global Urdu poetry with equal deftness. When he recited the poems, he breathed a personal touch into them that nobody else could.
Recently he moved to Pakistan. Back in April when he was about to move I talked with him at length. He told me that he was not happy in Canada despite a secure job and a good life. I guess “Banjara” was missing his roots. He was also very excited about his new job at SIUT. He said that it would give him something more purposeful and fulfilling to do. I talked with him for the last time about a week before his death not knowing that it would be our very last conversation. He told me that he was very busy but happy. He was doing something he had always wanted to do – help other people especially the ones who had nowhere else to go. We had a lengthy talk and he told me about what was going on in Pakistan in general. He was not exactly thrilled with the cultural and political direction the country was taking but he still was very optimistic. Such was Banjara – he never gave up.
Someone once said that the only certainty in life is death. It seems so true today. For if someone like Khalid, who was so vivacious and full of life is gone then anything in life is possible – however uncertain or unexpected it might seem. A while back, he recorded a poem by Ibne Insha. We would like to post the same poem in his memory. May Allah have mercy on his soul. Ameen!
Click below to listen to a piece recited by Banjara.